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How The Environment Benefits From Recycling

2690 words - 11 pages

Care for a snack? Try the chocolate bar that comes in recyclable packaging, or maybe pick up a package of sustainable wood-fiber-filled baby diapers, or a no-animal-testing sunscreen, nontoxic spray cleaner, an entry form for a Prius giveaway or a cloth grocery bag for your shopping (Layton, 2014). Many products have become useful in so many ways that not recycling is harmful as well as unwise and uneconomical. There’s not enough room to throw trash all over the place, pollute, and simply not recycle. In order to understand the importance of recycling, people must first understand what recycling is, what it involves, and how it works. It is also important to know not only the effects of recycling but benefits as well. There are benefits to recycling paper, plastic, glass and aluminum; such as saving energy, saving money, reducing air pollution, and even creating jobs – which not only benefit the environment but the economy as well.
Recycling is not a new concept; it has been around for years. Even in the times of war and the hard times, when famine, and widespread illness occurred, that’s when recycling of waste were made necessary because new materials were scarce. Recycling metals, jewelry, and coins were melted for weapons and other necessary goods (History of Recycling, 2014). By the late 1960s, the air, rivers and forests of North America were in serious disrepair as a result of massive industrial development. Rivers were catching fire, the sludge and debris dumped by factories igniting with the slightest spark. In a midsize city like Portland, Oregon, people were breathing air that polluted their lungs at the same level as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day (Layton, 2014). Forests were being leveled at an alarming rate, pesticides were clogging farmland and beaches were littered with dangerous waste (Layton, 2014). This is how Earth Day came about on April 22, 1970, for which 20 million people gathered to show their support while only a few were expected (Layton, 2014). According to Watson, (2014), there was an increased concern by scientists and environmentalists that pesticides, sewage and industrial pollutants were poisoning the air and water and threatening the Earth. That’s when Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin began to get concerned about the health of the environment, and the U.S. government's apparent lack of attention to it. He was the one to organize the first Earth Day with Denis Hayes, a Law School student and an environmental activist (Watson, 2014).
In the 1970s, recycling became more popular again and drop-off recycling centers were established. The first city to mandate recycling was Woodbury, New Jersey (History of Recycling, 2014). In the 21st century, "conservation" has become "the environment," and world governments became, and are, well aware of the recycling issues at hand (Layton, 2014). Portland, Oregon, came in #1 green city according to Svoboda, E., Berhie, S., & Mika, E. (2009)....

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